Interpersonal Metadiscourse in Newspaper Editorials


1 Department of English Language and Literature, Azarbaijan Shahid Madani University,Tabriz, Iran

2 Islamic Azad University- Maragheh Branch, Maragheh, Iran

3 Islamic Azad University, Maragheh Branch, Maragheh, Iran


The power of media lies in its persuasive function, which gives media a potential to maneuver on the mind of audience (van Dijk 1996). This potential is realized via different linguistic resources, one important group of which is metadiscoursal resources. The major aim of this study was to explore how and in what distribution these resources are employed by writers with different cultural backgrounds to fulfill persuasive objectives in the genre of newspaper editorials. Based on Hyland’s (2005) interpersonal taxonomy, a total of eighty newspaper editorials from four elite newspapers (two Iranian and two American) were analyzed and compared. The results revealed some differences between the two groups of editors (Iranian group and American group) in terms of the number of metadiscoursal elements used in their editorials. For instance, the native speaker group proved to be more confident in using interactional and interpersonal metadiscourse markers more frequently than the non-native group, which can be attributed to genre and language ownership on the part of the native speaker group. It can also be related to the contrast often made between writer-responsibility vs. reader- responsibility cultures (Hinds 1987). On the whole, cultural upbringing, genre and language ownership, as well as different rhetorical considerations may play key roles in the type and frequency of metadiscoursal elements used in public domain discourses.